By unanimous conset, the Senate has confirmed Caroline Hunter and Rosemary Rodriguez as EAC commissioners. As a result the Senate rules and Administration Committee was discharged from any further consideration of the nominations and there will be no confirmation hearings.
Hunter, who replaces Paul DeGregorio, was appointed for a term expiring December 2009, while Rodriguez will serve out the term of former Commissioner Ray Martinez, which expires in December 2007. The status of Commissioner Gracia Hillman, whose term expired in 2005 remains on holdover status.
While few anticipated any effort to block either of the nominations, it is unfortunate that the public was not provided the opportunity of confirmation hearings for these important nominations. Current Chair Donetta Davidson was similarly appointed with hearings in July, 2005 to replace DeForest Soaries.
The office of Senator Feinstein, chair of the Senate Rules Committee, issued the following statement:
"Two out of four Election Assistance Commission seats have been in limbo for half a year. With the 2008 Presidential election fast approaching it is was critical that these two positions be filled without the continued partisan standoff that had prevented earlier action. In the coming months, Senator Feinstein plans oversight hearings on the Commission and will be closely examining a variety of issues that have plagued federal elections in recent years."
Ms. Rodriguez, a former Denver clerk and recorder recently served on an investigative panel that examined the failures of the Denver Election Commission that led to long lines at the polls on Election Day and a slow vote-tallying process.
In 2005, Ms. Rodriguez championed the idea to scrap Denver's election commission in favor of a single elected clerk and recorder system that would closer resemble the structure of 62 of the 63 other counties in Colorado. In 2006, she led an unsuccessful effort in support of an all-mail ballot election in the November.
Ms. Hunter most recently served as Deputy Director of Public Liason for the White House. Prior to her position with the White House, she served as Executive Officer of the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman at the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier in her career, she served as Deputy Counsel of the Republican National Committee. Ms. Hunter received her bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University and her JD from the University of Memphis.
In her role as Deputy Counsel to the Republican National Committee, Ms. Hunter assisted the RNC and State Parties in some way with HAVA implementation. She also defended the RNC's attempt to use a list of over 23,000 names for challenges in the 2004 presidential election in Ohio.
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